I wanted to be MacGyver when I grew up. [Who’s MacGyver?] Not Cinderella or Barbie or Sassette Smurfling (although living in the Smurf Village wouldn’t have been so bad.)
Why? MacGyver was a thinker. He didn’t just shoot someone (didn’t even carry a gun in fact) or take the easy way out of a situation. He used logic. He stepped back, looked at a problem from all angles (even under extreme circumstances) and figured out a solution. That impressed me even at a young age.
MacGyver wasn’t flashy; he just went about his business of fixing things and saving people while living his life. The fact that he happened to get into shaky circumstances so often didn’t seem to phase him at all. I related to him as a thinker, an introvert, a problem solver.
Not everyone did though. For show and tell in second grade one week, we were supposed to talk about our favorite superhero. I was excited to talk about MacGyver: how cool he was, and how I wanted to be like him when I grew up. You know, a non-violent secret agent who has a scientific background and uses everyday items to solve major issues. Practical, right?
Anyway, I announced that my favorite hero was MacGyver, which my teacher promptly rebutted with, “MacGyver isn’t a superhero.” My response, “Why? Because he doesn’t wear tights?” My sarcasm was evident even as a seven-year-old.
MacGyver didn’t need tights or special powers, just a Swiss Army knife, encyclopedic knowledge and common sense.
Marketing professionals can learn a lot from this fictional character and utilize MacGyver’s ‘tools’ to succeed.
- Knowledge is power. The more you know about your industry, organization, objectives and marketing will put you in a position to succeed.
- Always be prepared. MacGyver carried his Swiss Army knife wherever he went just in case. What’s your Swiss Army knife? A master binder covering every detail of your event? Your company’s marketing plan? Your smartphone? Whatever it is, know where it is at all times.
- Be flexible. Yes, you need to plan. But the best laid plans can change on a dime, and you need to adapt to your surroundings.
- Solve problems. Sometimes we get so caught up in marketing, that we forget our primary goal is to solve a problem — our company’s, a client’s, a non-profit organization’s that we’re volunteering for. [I’d be remiss not to mention Jeff Bullas’ excellent post on this subject: Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing.]
- Think. You have a brain; use it. Don’t overreact to every situation and try to ‘do’ your way out of it. No matter how crazy it seems, you have time to step back, look at a problem from all angles and come up with a solution. Use logic to fight (metaphorical) fires, and more often than not, you’ll put them out much quicker.
See, MacGyver really is a superhero. As a marketing professional, you can use the same tools he did to succeed and be a hero to your clients, boss, business associates and colleagues.
Now it’s your turn.
What’s the go to ‘tool’ in your arsenal?
Do you agree with the tools I mentioned? What am I missing?
Did another character inspire you when you were growing up?
Chime in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on MacGyver, inspirational characters, the aforementioned ‘tools’ to succeed, marketing or whatever’s on your mind today.
Your marketing secret agent,